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Living & Learning: Japanese students overseas / Opportunities await outside comfort zone

Courtesy of Misa Katagi
Misa Katagi with her senior friend

By Misa Katagi (Franklin & Marshall College) / Special to The Japan News This column features reports by Japanese students currently studying overseas on their lives on and off campus.

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Opportunities. This intangible idea seems to be everywhere and at the same time hard to grasp. Here at Franklin & Marshall College in the United States, the environment drives students to venture forward and find a passion, make valuable connections and strive toward academic goals. Every day I feel pushed to step out of my comfort zone to a place where I can discover new opportunities and make them my own.

I never would have thought the first class of my college career, sociology — which I entered feeling absolutely terrified — would lead me to enjoy questioning engaging and controversial topics such as race, class, gender and power. All the extracurricular activities I am now involved in have been influenced by my sociology class. I currently represent the Diversity Council, serve as vice president for the international club and act as a mentor for international students. I would never have seized these opportunities if it were not for the social awareness I was introduced to at F&M.

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Greek culture plays a significant role and is deeply integrated in the social and academic aspects of the F&M community. Spanning more than 165 years, its long history has enriched students with values-based, lifelong experience. Today, approximately 60 percent of students are involved in either a fraternity or sorority. The fellow students from my Greek organization hold similar values and are people I can joke around with but also engage in heated arguments — the other day, my friends and I had an intense conversation about the racial tension on campus after the recent U.S. presidential election. I have encountered mentors who have guided me through the rigors of college academics, giving me great advice on my plan to declare as a business major and valuable insights on studying abroad.

It is often said that a student at F&M is never not busy. I’m currently in my second year, and while I couldn’t agree more with that statement, I’ve learned to truly appreciate the endless opportunities the environment at F&M provides and the students who inspire me to seize one opportunity after another.

Though engaging yourself in a new community is never easy, opportunities are always within reach at F&M. What you get in return for a little bravery is irreplaceable.

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Franklin & Marshall College

Founded in 1787, Franklin & Marshall College is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States. The Lancaster, Pa.-based college has more than more than 2,300 students today.

In partnership with Ryugaku Fellowship

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